Mitch Cairns - Waylaid S T O O P, 2020 | at The Commercial, Sydney


It is with great pleasure that The Commercial presents Waylaid S T O O P, a solo exhibition by Mitch Cairns. Cairns’ exhibitions comprise a seemingly unruly or disparate combination of figurative pictorial subjects. A maker of pictures and crafter of oil paint surfaces, Cairns is an artist of notable dexterity leaping between image-ideas. He works language as much as he works paint and glazes (the thin, transparent, medium-rich layers that he wipes across his surfaces to create veils of form and colour). Nimble banter is found throughout his paintings in the construction of compositions where language and fruit are equally ripe for picture-making. Words are scrambled as clueless anagrams. Non-linguistic forms are similarly improvised and subjected to variation. Cairns’ word craft extends to the bite-sized prose that attends the paintings as titles. In this exhibition, Artist’s Mouth, Classless Act, Recalcitrants - help or don’t help our reading of the paintings. Emergency Motif I-V describes the imperative of the pictures’ coming to be. Fruit, stalwart of still life and domestic life, is a rich pictorial resource ready to hand. It is both fresh and pre-digested by European art history’s system. Its givenness makes it available for transformations such as amplifications or reductions in scale (very small apple/very large apples) sliding towards the absurd or the surreal.
The exhibition is accompanied by a text by Michael Snape.